WIAA 3A State Baseball Tournament Centralia Regional Preview

3A State Baseball Regional: Centralia Region

This in my mind is the toughest region in this tournament. This region features three of the top five teams in the state. In order to advance to the state finals, teams must win two games on Saturday; their first round game and defeat the winner of the other game played in this region. See our breakdown of this region with a final prediction after the jump!!

All games are played on May 19, 2012

Game 1: Mount Si. vs. Peninsula, Wheeler Field (Centralia, WA) 10:00 a.m.

Mount Si (19-3): Ranked as the No.1 team in the state and are the favorites not only to win this region, but to win this whole tournament. Last year the Wildcats won state, so they defiantly have the experience and know what it takes to win. This team’s strength is hitting and pitching. One key thing to watch is their base running. Every time Mount Si has a runner on first base, they love to be aggressive and steal second base which sets up the scoring situation. Key players to watch are Reece Karalus (Santa Clara University), Trevor Lane (Western Nevada College), Trevor Taylor (Tacoma Community College), and Daniel Besner (Yakima Valley Community College). Notable wins: Kamiakin, Liberty, Puyallup, and Lake Washington. Tournament history: Have made regionals a total of 4 times and have one state title (2011).

Peninsula (19-4): Unfortunately this team, being one of the top five teams this year, is matched up with the best team in the state (Mount Si) in the first round of this region. Can Peninsula do it? They do have talented hitters in Blake Valley (.509, 29 hits, and 16 RBI’s), and Kory Vanderstaay (.354, 23 hits, and 17 RBI’s). This team is also strong with pitching too; Andrew Mattingly (2.00 era) is their best pitcher. Peninsula has five pitchers that have an era under 2.00. If they are going to pull off the upset, then their pitching must be strong this morning. Notable wins: Enumclaw, Hazen. Tournament history: 13 appearances in the regionals and their best finish has been second place, in 2006.

Prediction: Mount Si 3-0

Game 2: O’Dea vs. Kelso, Wheeler Field (Centralia, WA) 1:00 p.m. UPSET ALERT

O’Dea (15-8): The Irish are the only team in this region that is not ranked. Their biggest strength is their pitching lead by their ace Tony Davila. Davila will throw today against Kelso, so this automatically gives the Irish a chance in this one. Some key players on offense to watch are Pierre LeDorze, Sam Moran, Dylan Wade and Scottie Graham. If O’Dea is going to win this game, their offense will need to be productive. Notable wins: Bishop Blanchet, Ingelmoor, Bothell. Tournament history: 12 regional appearances and won back to back state championships in 2009 and 2010.

Kelso (16-7) This team is ranked as the fourth best team in the state. This team does play in the tough 3A Greater St. Helens Baseball League that features teams like Camas, Mountain View and Columbia River. Playing in a tough division helps this team out, and given the fact O’Dea’s played in the not as talented Metro Division, hurts the Irish a little. I expect Kelso to look strong on offense and play a great game tomorrow. Notable wins: Camas, Timberline. Tournament history: Kelso placed third in state in 2005 and placed second in 2008.

Prediction: Kelso 4-3

Who’s going to Pasco?

With my predictions of the two first round games, Mount Si would play Kelso in the finals of this region. Mount Si has too much offense and hitting for Kelso to keep up with.

Prediction: Mount Si. 2-0 (Winner of the Centralia Regional and clinch a spot in the state finals in Pasco)

–Evan Baron (BaselineBaron09)

Follow my twitter account; I’ll be covering this region today by providing live-game updates.